A French woman convicted of murdering her abusive husband has been released from jail.
Jacqueline Sauvage, of Montargis in central France, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2014 after killing her alcoholic and abusive husband, shooting him three times in the back with his own hunting rifle, the day after their son hanged himself.
The court had heard how her husband Norbert Marot had raped and beaten Ms Sauvage and her three daughters and acted violently towards their son for 40 years. But her lawyers’ argument that she was acting in self-defence was rejected on the grounds that her life was not threatened at the time she seized the hunting rifle.
Mr Hollande issued a partial pardon at the end of January after more than 400,000 people signed a petition calling on him to use his right to pardon convicted criminals to release Ms Sauvage, including politicians on the left and right, as well as the President’s former partner Valérie Trierweiler.
The courts had rejected previous applications for her release, but the President has now given Ms Sauvage, 69, a complete pardon.
He tweeted on Wednesday: “I’ve decided to grant Jacqueline Sauvage a pardon of the rest of her sentence. This pardon puts an immediate end to her detention.”
A statement released by the Elysee Palace stated: “The President of the Republic has decided that Ms Sauvage should no longer be in prison, but with her family.”
Following her release, one of Ms Sauvage’s lawyers, Nathalie Tomasini, said Mr Hollande’s decision sent out “a very strong message by the President of the Republic” to all female victims of domestic abuse.
But others have condemned the decision, with the Trade Union of Magistrates (USM), Virginie Duval, denouncing it as “appalling”, saying the President had acted “to please public opinion and calling it a “total violation of judicial decisions”.
On average, 134 French women are killed by their husbands or male partners each year.
The French president was granted the power to decree pardons in 1958.
During his election campaign in 2012, Mr Hollande suggested he would not use presidential pardons, saying they belonged to “a different concept of power”.